It’s exciting to receive a verified lead, but we’re not always sure about the most effective way to follow up with them. Whether you receive a lead from Real Estate Pipeline (REPL) or another source, how you follow up with a lead can make the difference between converting them into a sale or archiving them. How would you like to avoid spending hours making phone calls to leads that result in voicemail messages the majority of the time? Let’s look at some options for making the most of your leads by practicing good follow-up strategies.
Get Them On The Phone… Quickly
When you receive a lead alert, it’s important to call them right away. I know you’re busy, but if you want to increase lead conversion, you must follow up with the lead quickly. Don’t wait a few days, or weeks, to reach out to them. By that time they probably won’t know why you’re calling, let alone even pick up the phone, because you’re no longer top-of-mind. When you call immediately, it’s likely they will still be sitting in front of their computer. They’re going to be more engaged because they're in the thick of it, looking at properties online. Taking the time to make a quick phone call, after receiving a lead alert, will increase the chances of making contact and getting the lead into your sales funnel.
What Do I Say, Once I Get Them On The Phone?
First of all, congratulations for promptly calling them and making contact. You’re nailing this! Refer to the lead notification information you received to reassure the lead of how you received their contact information. For example, say you received the following information: contact information; property type; and their timeframe for purchasing a home. Focus on the information provided in the lead notification and reiterate the information in the form of a question.
Agent: “Hi _____ . My name is ________ and I’m an agent with XYZ Realty. I just received a notification from [my website] indicating you want information on listings in Greenville, South Carolina. You’re looking for homes priced between $_______ to $________ ?”
As they share details about their home search, really listen to what they’re telling you. Are they providing additional information that you can use to engage them further? Address what they’re saying, provide professional suggestions to help resolve any concerns, and build on the conversation based off of their needs. They will most likely perceive you as a caring professional, and the go-to agent, when you address their questions and concerns. Your prompt follow-up, helpfulness and professionalism builds trust and leads to a higher likelihood of converting them into a sale.
Example when addressing concerns:
Agent: “So you need to find a home in Greenville but, in the past, you’ve been outbid repeatedly. I’ve had a lot of success in helping my clients purchase the home of their dreams, even when there’s a bidding war. Let’s sit down and look at the properties you’ve bid on. We’ll review what’s happened and devise a strategy to be the top bidder on the next home you want to purchase. Would you like to meet tomorrow or on Friday?”
In the example, you addressed their concern, shared your experience, provided a solution, and asked for a meeting. You avoided coming across as a pushy salesperson, which can quickly turn off a prospect (think about how you would want your parents to be treated by an agent). Remember, they want to be heard and understood, vs. hearing a sales pitch.
Nurture Your Leads
Regardless of whether or not you were able to get the lead on the phone, it’s important to nurture the lead. Any lead can be THE lead you convert into a sale, but you must act quickly and continue to follow up. In the previous example, let’s say you secure a meeting. After the call, send a “thank you” email which can also act as an appointment reminder. Be concise and focus on the prospect moreso than yourself.
Example “thank you” email sent after setting up a meeting over the phone:
Now let’s consider how to nurture leads that you cannot get on the phone. When you have to leave a voicemail, it's important to send a follow-up email related to their needs (ex. which property they viewed or material they requested), and then provide additional examples of what they're looking for. For example, you receive a lead alert indicating the lead just looked at a house in Mount Pleasant but cannot get them on the phone. Write an email (or use an existing template) which focuses on the property and provide additional links to similar homes. Briefly share your expertise in the area and how you can meet their needs.
Drip Email Campaigns
As you’ve probably witnessed in the past, leads don’t always respond to emails. Don’t give up. Add leads to a drip email campaign and continue to nurture them. Drip email campaigns are designed to nurture leads over a long period of time by sending them marketing information that will ideally converts them into a future sale. Emails can be sent through your CRM program or other software designed for drip email campaigns. Keep in mind, new listing alerts can be sent to potential buyers through your MLS system. Even though leads might not respond to your drip emails, continue nurturing and educating them to keep them engaged and keep your brand top-of-mind.
Include information that is captivating, entertaining, and educational. Links to listings, ebooks, blog articles, or anything else that reflects their needs,will encourage further engagement. Avoid irrelevant, low-quality, or lengthy emails as they will lead to unsubscribes. Include a little bit about yourself in the email, but primarily focus on their needs. Your goal is to engage leads and get them to take some sort of action, like make an appointment to see homes. Provide appealing information in you email campaign to encourage leads to take action.
Start by sending a welcome email to thank them for signing up for your email list, blog, or similar. Include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the email. The CTA could be an offer to download your ebook, set up an appointment, or connect on social media. When CTA's are prominently displayed, especially as a button, they will stand out and increase your chances of the lead clicking to learn more vs. just reading and deleting your email. As you continue to send emails, CTA's can be included in each, especially if you see a favorable response rate.
As you continue sending more emails through the campaign, consider how often you're sending them. You want to be top-of-mind, but sending too many can result in a low open rate or unsubscribes. How much is too much? New listing alerts can be sent daily or weekly, while you may want to send educational emails 1-2 emails per month. If you discover your leads are actively engaging in your emails (ex. clicking links and replying), segment them into a group that you will email more frequently (1x week). Try to get them on the phone when you see a high rate of engagement. In the early stages, experiment with your drip email campaigns to find a frequency that engages the lead without resulting in a large number of unsubscribes.
Review your analytics to see which leads are opening emails, clicking on links to listings or your blog, watching videos, etc. Consider A-B testing emails to learn which emails produce the best results. Look at unsubscribed recipients too and flag them in your CRM program for no further contact. As long as the lead doesn’t ask you to stop, continue to reach out through drip email marketing to keep your brand top-of-mind and increase your chances of converting a lead into a sale.
Consider including these ideas in your nurturing emails:
- Links to relevant listings
- Links to your videos (ex. neighborhood they’ve shown interest in)
- Open houses
- Blog articles
- Community service, donations, fundraisers
- Housing market overview
- Testimonials from clients
- New construction or housing developments
- Coming-soon listings
What About Texting?
Text messages have nearly a 100% open rate which makes texting a good option for contacting leads. Think about it, when was the last time you did not read a text message alert that popped up on your phone? 95% of Americans own a cell phone, according to Pew Research. Although it may be tempting to text before calling, I recommend calling first (in your voicemail message, let them know you’ll follow up with a text message.). Maybe you’ll get a response to your text message which grows into a strong connection with the lead and an eventual sale. Consider text messaging a favorable form of contact, if leads aren’t opening emails, aren’t answering your phone calls or returning messages.
What to avoid...
- Lengthy text messages
- Unprofessional conversation (ex. leaves lead feeling awkward or turned off)
- Inundating the lead with frequent text messages
- Texting outside of professional hours
If you plan on texting leads, you might want to include a disclosure on your lead generation form (and other forms/sites) where the phone number field is mandatory. You could add a simple sentence at the end of the form, such as, “By submitting your phone number you agree to be contacted via phone and text”. If someone asks you to stop texting them (texts STOP or similar), flag them in you CRM program as “do not text”. Avoid sending constant text messages or the lead may block your number or report it as spam.
Example text messages (create text templates for reuse):
“Hi _____. This is Bob with XYZ Realty. Thanks for requesting info on new listings. Visit https://xyzrealty.com/newlistings for the newest listings. Which homes would you like to visit?”
You may not receive a text or call response but that’s okay. You’re not giving up that easily. Check your analytics to see if they visited the link you provided. If so, they’re starting to engage. Follow up, via phone or text, thank them for visiting your new listings page and ask to set up an appointment to see some homes. Don’t be upset if you don’t receive a response after sending a text; add a task to your CRM program to follow up and then add them to a drip email campaign.
Quickly follow up with leads to increase your chances of making contact with them and ultimately getting them into your sales funnel. Whether you follow up via phone, text or email, it’s important to have a quick response time. You want to contact the lead when they’re actively engaged in your website, not a week later when they have probably forgotten about which site they visited to search for homes. Utilize drip email campaigns to continually nurture leads. Keep in mind, leads aren't bad, it's how efficiently we handle them that makes a difference. When you reach out to leads, focus on their needs, be helpful and don’t give up! You’ve got this!
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